Auburn will face Penn State in a regular season game on Saturday, September 17, 2022 (9/17/22) at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Alabama.
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Here’s what you need to know:
What: NCAA Football, Week 3
Who: Auburn vs. Penn State
When: Saturday September 17, 2022
Where: Jordan Hare Stadium
Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
Channel finder: Verizon Fios, AT&T to U, Comcast Xfinity, Spectrum/Charter, Optimum/Altice,coxswain,DIRECTV, Plate, Hulu, fuboTV, Sling.
Direct: DirecTV Stream (free trial), fuboTV (free trial)
When 11 black quarterbacks started NFL games in Week 1, it was another indication that those racial stereotypes had finally been overcome.
Although there is a continuing lack of diversity among general managers and coaches, four of the sport’s five biggest contracts have gone to black QBs – including Deshaun Watson’s fully guaranteed $230 million deal with the Cleveland Browns. Patrick Mahomes, Russell Wilson and Kyler Murray received the other three. Lamar Jackson is in line to join this group next.
Black QBs – Cam Newton, Mahomes and Jackson – have won three of the last seven NFL MVP awards. In the last 11 drafts, 11 of the 33 quarterbacks selected in the first round have been black.
But it’s been a long and difficult journey since Fritz Pollard became the first Black QB to play in the NFL in 1923.
“There has been a traditional and historical underrepresentation of black quarterbacks in the league due to various myths and lies,” NFL leader Troy Vincent told The Associated Press. “As this 2022 season opener, 11 black quarterbacks are not only top NFL clubs, but are demonstrating their ability to win. This leaves no doubt as to how this position has been normalized both at the college and professional level.
Despite the increase in the number of black quarterbacks and black officials, who make up about 40% of the league’s officiating team, the growth in diversity is not reflected on the sideline. There are only four black head coaches in 2022: Mike Tomlin of Pittsburgh, Lovie Smith of Houston, Todd Bowles of Tampa Bay and Mike McDaniel of Miami, who is biracial.
It took almost 100 years to go from Pollard breaking the QB race barrier to 11 starters, and it’s unclear how long it will take black coaches to make that leap.
These decisions are the responsibility of the owners.
The league hires officials. Owners can have a say in general managers and coaches.
It took several decades to arrive at the new standard for QBs.
Along the way, Doug Williams became the first Black QB to win a Super Bowl after the 1987 season. Wilson and Mahomes joined him for the past nine years.
Michael Vick was the first Black QB selected No. 1 overall in the draft in 2001. Steve McNair became the first Black QB to win the MVP title in 2003.
All of these QBs and many more have dealt with many stereotypes. Some still do.
Jackson said a Los Angeles Chargers scout asked him to do NFL combine routes in 2018. He declined. The Baltimore Ravens selected him with the 32nd pick in the 2018 draft. He was MVP in his second season.
Donovan McNabb said college scouts asked him to play running back or wide receiver. He wouldn’t change his position. He was drafted No. 2 overall by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1999 and led the team to five NFC Championship games in 11 seasons.
“Center, quarterback, wide receiver were the last positions to go into the National Football League,” Vincent said. “Why? Because someone said they were thinking positions and black QBs don’t have the skills, don’t have the football IQ.
Although this unfair criticism is no longer widely heard, it has not been eradicated. It always seeps in when a reviewer says a black quarterback can’t read the covers or doesn’t understand the playbook.
Coaches seem to have evolved beyond this stereotype. Teams just want to win and it doesn’t matter who’s under center, as evidenced by the contract the Browns gave Watson, even though he’s been charged with sexual assault and harassment.
“It’s the evolution of the game, and it’s the coaches who have realized that not only can these men win, but they’re dynamic and they can lead and they win at a high rate,” said Vincent said. “There’s not a kid in the country who’s a person of color who doesn’t believe he can’t be a quarterback because they’re everywhere and winning championships.”
Among the coaches who have relied on the Black QBs is Andy Reid. From McNabb to Vick to Mahomes, Reid had a black QB start in 272 of the 406 games he coached during his 24-year career with the Eagles and Chiefs.
“He’s a great example that these men can lead,” Vincent said of the number of black QBs. “The barriers were a myth.”
It’s time for owners to understand that black GMs and coaches can also lead.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report)
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Ryan Novozinsky can be reached at [email protected].